Vermont Business Magazine Today, House Speaker Jill Krowinski greeted the second year of biennium with a speech titled “Priorities for the Legislative Session”.
Today we agreed to begin the 2022 legislative session. This will allow us to continue the work that was done after last year’s historic session. We are beginning legislative work remotely due to record COVID case numbers. I am sorry for this. We will continue to monitor the spread COVID-19 in Vermont and hear from experts in science and health on how to safely return to the State House. We will continue to do the important work that Vermonters across all 14 counties depend on in order for the state to recover from the pandemic and build stronger, more equitable communities.
We have all been affected by the pandemic in some way. We have much to be proud about and a lot to reflect upon. Although this has been a difficult time in our history, I believe we can come out stronger and more united than ever. The pandemic has highlighted the issues we need to address in Vermont. It is crucial that we work together to create communities that support Vermonters from all walks of society. We cannot ignore the many lessons we have learned in this historic time. Instead, we must continue to recover together and create a Vermont that is inclusive.
It is my priority that I work with the Governor and our Senate colleagues to make significant progress in boosting our economy; addressing the interconnected challenges facing housing, childcare, and workforce; enacting inclusive strategies for combating climate change and building a resilient future; and ensure that the legislation we pass is thoroughly reviewed to ensure it creates greater equity and justice for all Vermonters. These policy initiatives include:
- Investing Vermont’s federal ARPA funds, and building a budget to boost recovery in all 14 county. This will set the stage for a strong and prosperous future
- Incorporating forward-looking strategies to combat climate change, transition to a sustainable lifestyle, and prepare for changing and severe weather patterns
- Investing in workforce development and higher education to prepare Vermonters to take on 21st century jobs in the state
- Promoting clean water and the health and well-being of our rivers, lakes, wetlands, groundwater and drinking water systems; ensuring a safe environment that protects our natural resources and is free from toxic substances
- Access to more healthcare, mental health, and substance abuse disorder treatment services
- We are now able to pass the two constitutional amends we have before us: the amendment to clarify Vermont’s prohibition on slavery and indentured service, and the amendment to guarantee personal reproductive freedom to all Vermonters.
- Protecting public safety and health during the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic by using evidence-driven strategies, sound information and the advice from medical experts
- Supporting working families with affordable housing, a Child Tax Credit, rural broadband buildout and affordable, high-quality child care
- In every policy area, the overarching goal should be to eradicate systemic and institution racism and promote racial equity and racial reconciliation.
- Other important issues include reapportionment; education financing and the weighting analysis; addressing our unfunded retirement pension
I am also excited to publish the report that highlights the work Senator Balint, me and others did this summer and fall. We met with Vermonters and discussed how we invested the federal funds we received and the future of Vermont. Our virtual town hallsInvesting in Vermont’s FutureIt was a groundbreaking public engagement process that identified bright spots, chronic challenges, opportunities, and ways to make crucial investments in the state. Many people and groups shared their stories, life experiences and hopes for Vermont’s future. It was inspiring to hear so many people share their stories, life experiences, and hopes for the future of Vermont. However, it also highlighted many issues we need to address, particularly from those who have not been able to participate in the legislative process. The report will be released in the coming weeks. I hope other people find the themes and personal stories as useful and interesting as I do.
The pandemic is taking a toll on everyone. I know that parents and students, health care providers, educators, local officials, and business owners are all exhausted and seeking support in their everyday lives. As we continue to make sacrifices for each other, I am confident that we will find solutions to help our families, friends and neighbors. We will continue to work diligently and I look forward taking on the important issues that will affect the future of our great nation.
Source:Montpelier, Vt. Speaker 1.4.2021